The E-rate program is a federally funded program providing discounts to school and public libraries for their broadband services, Internet access, and related equipment. E-rate works by providing discounts averaging 60-80% on these services.
Libraries must apply on an annual basis to receive E-rate discounts. The upcoming funding year runs from July 1, to June 30 of the following year. The application process requires logging into the E-rate application system EPC, completing the library profile information, submitting Form 470, and then submitting Form 471 at least 28 days later. The filing window for submission of the latter form typically closes in March.
E-rate Program Information
You can find a wide range of information about E-Rate at the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) website, the organization that oversees the program:
- Getting Started
- Application Process Flowchart
- USAC Application Portal
- Document Retention
- Find your Library Locale Code
Note – It is worth pointing out that, in typical usage cases, participating in E-rate for discounts on internet access requires compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Its most significant requirement is that all library computers with internet access (not just public or children’s computers) run internet filtering software:
USAC Page on CIPA Requirements - https://usac.org/sl/applicants/step05/cipa.aspx